Oral health is an essential indicator of overall health, well-being, and quality of life. It encompasses a range of diseases and conditions, including dentistry. The body's natural defenses and good oral hygiene practices, such as daily brushing and flossing, help keep bacteria levels in check. Without proper oral hygiene, however, bacteria can reach levels that can cause oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping your mouth clean and free from disease. It involves brushing and flossing your teeth, as well as visiting your dentist regularly for dental x-rays, exams, and cleanings. Health, health status, health-related quality of life (OHRQOL), and quality of life have been used interchangeably in the literature. OHRQOL is becoming increasingly recognized in clinical dentistry because it is patients who are being treated and not just their dental or oral condition.
The medical model has been replaced by the socio-environmental model of health, which assumes the state of health as a capacity for optimal functioning and social and psychological well-being. These definitions suggest that OHRQOL is equivalent to health but at the same time encompasses dimensions that are broader than health. This is based on the recently recognized patient-centered biopsychosocial approach to oral health care. Oral health also denotes not only the absence of disease but general well-being so that the person can perform functions such as eating, talking, and smiling and can also contribute creatively to society.
Even after much research and thousands of publications, the definition of quality of life related to oral health remains vague. There has been a paradigm shift in relation to the concept of health, causality of disease, and provision of medical care in medicine and dentistry. It has now become a more commonly used term in dental literature in the current century, although it was initially applied mainly in oncology. These risk factors include tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and unhealthy diets high in free sugars, all of which are increasing globally.
But the need and scope of the broader horizon of the concept of health and wellness with regard to oral conditions was recognized almost a decade later by doctors and dental researchers. Tell your dentist about the medications you take and about changes in your general health, especially if you have been ill recently or if you have a chronic condition such as diabetes. Since then, oral health has also been considered to contribute to general well-being and not just to the mere absence of disease. In addition, there is a causal relationship between high sugar consumption and diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay. In the second half of the 20th century, the psychosocial concept emerged and the biopsychosocial model of health emerged.
This model recognizes that physical health is not only determined by biological factors but also by psychological factors such as stress levels or social factors such as access to healthcare services. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines oral health as “a state of being free from mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral infection and sores, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay (dental caries), tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling speaking or psychosocial wellbeing”.The WHO also emphasizes that good oral hygiene practices are essential for maintaining good oral health. These include brushing teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste; flossing at least once daily; limiting sugary snacks; avoiding tobacco use; visiting your dentist regularly for checkups; eating a balanced diet; drinking plenty of water; using mouthwash; avoiding clenching or grinding teeth; using dental sealants; wearing a mouthguard when playing sports; avoiding alcohol consumption; using fluoride treatments; using orthodontic treatments if needed; using night guards if needed; using antiseptic mouthwash if needed; using anti-plaque agents if needed; using anti-cavity agents if needed. In conclusion, good oral hygiene practices are essential for maintaining good oral health according to WHO standards. Regular visits to your dentist for checkups are also important for maintaining good oral hygiene. Risk factors such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets high in free sugars should be avoided in order to maintain good oral hygiene.